December 16, 2013

The Stinky Side

For the most part we choose to focus on the positive side of having a child with special needs.  As is the case with most things in life, we try to see the good, go with the positive and use it for God's glory.  We look for His plan in the trials and use that for encouragement to look at tomorrow.  But the fact is, sometimes you just have to face the stinky part of it.

Today was one of those days.  I woke up before the sun, still suffering from the effects of the cold my children so generously shared with me.  I had bid Allen goodbye hours before as he left for a business trip.  I dressed and put my makeup on.  Then I bathed and dressed Addison.  I chatted with a friend via text and gathered my strength through prayer.  And then I sat through a pleasant two hour interview.

And it was so sad.  Because all this is to prepare for the time when my son turns 21.  A time when he will no longer be covered under our benefits but a time when he quite possibly will not be able to provide for himself.  Because no matter how hopeful we are, we have to face the fact that there is a very real possibility that he will never be able to fully care for himself.  And no matter how encouraged we may be by his good health and his progress, it is still a crushing thing to think about.  No matter how much you know it is part of God's plan, it is still an overwhelmingly sad thing.  Even if that sadness only lasts for a moment.

The lady who came to our home was delightful.  She gave me some good advice and fielded our many questions.  And I am grateful that she will be Addison's advocate for the rest of his life, or until someone replaces her.  If there was ever a good time to have a child with Down Syndrome this is it.  And for that I thank the Lord.  But we still have a child with Down Syndrome.  Who we adore.  And for whom we want the best and all the things parents dream of.  An education.  A career he loves.  A wife he adores.  Children who wrestle him to the floor when he comes home at night.

The truth is all those things seem silly in the light of God's plan.  Because we know in our heart of hearts that in God's will Addison could have a richer, fuller and more meaningful life than all of our other children.  We already see what he is doing in this world.  When we received his diagnosis we mourned these things.  And then we gave them to God.  But still, there are times, like when you sit through an interview with the Disability Administration talking about your 7 month old son, that for a minute you feel that loss all over again.

Today was one of those days.

And yet, it is so good!  Because the Lord does have a plan.  The Lord is using Down Syndrome for His glory.  The Lord is blessing Addison's life EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Sometimes I think the Lord gave us Addison, possibly our last child, (because let's face it, I am 41 years old) because He knew we would have a hard time saying goodbye to parenthood.  But because of Addison's special needs we are even more determined than with our other children to ensure he will gain independence.  Thereby making the time our youngest leaves home joyful instead of sad or bittersweet.

But sometimes I also think the Lord chose to give us Addison because He knows that it will be hard for us to have an empty nest someday.  And perhaps Addison will never be able to live completely independent from us.  And we will always have the joy of his presence in our home.

It doesn't really matter.  Today is what today is.  And we are living today.  God's plan is what God's plan is.  And we are living God's plan.  And Addison is the same wonderfully amazing person.  And we are honored to know him.

But still I think about it.

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